Update on “Anarchist Cookbook” author’s arrest for nonviolent activisim

Posted: December 23, 2015 in Anarchism, Livin' in the USA, Politics
Tags: , ,

Anarchist Cookbook front coverOn September 19, we reported on Anarchist Cookbook author and Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry’s arrest for defending the rights of street vendors and performers, and homeless people  in Santa Cruz, California. Originally charged with a felony, the d.a. subsequently reduced the charge to a misdemeanor, but piled on other misdemeanor charges, probably in an attempt to coerce McHenry to plead guilty to a single charge. The latest charge was failure to obey a police officer — to use a crosswalk on a deserted street at midnight.

In return for pleading to the single charge, the d.a. generously offered a deal in which McHenry would be jailed for two months. McHenry essentially told the d.a. to stick it, and has another court date on January 26 in Santa Cruz. His attorney has indicated that the charges don’t have a leg to stand on, and that the d.a. is essentially wasting taxpayer money on harassment and intimidation of a political activist.

We’ve reproduced the new press release from McHenry’s defense committee below.

* * *

DEFEND THE RIGHTS OF THE POOR
Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 10:00am
Department 1 – Superior Court of Santa Cruz County, California
701 Ocean St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

FOOD NOT BOMBS CO-FOUNDER KEITH McHENRY FACES NEW CRIMINAL CHARGES FOR HIS WORK TO DEFEND THE RIGHTS OF THE POOR

Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry is facing three misdemeanor charges in Santa Cruz Superior Court as a result of his work to defend the rights of the poor. The original case stemmed from an action where McHenry replaced 33 “blue artist boxes” on Pacific Avenue that had been removed by the city. On December 8th, Santa Cruz District Attorney
Archie Webber told the court that a warrant had been issued for Mr. McHenry’s arrest in a new case where he has been charged with “offensive words” under California Penal Code 415(3). The other new misdemeanor was ‘Failure to obey a police officer’ who claims he told McHenry to use a cross walk at City Hall at midnight during the Freedom Sleepers protest. Santa Cruz City Council member, Cynthia Chase, City Redevelopment Manager, Julie Hendee and two others came together to observe Keith McHenry and Abbi Samuel’s December 8th court hearing. A hearing on the three misdemeanor cases was held on Wednesday, December 16th in Department 1 in Superior Court before Judge Paul Burdick.

The District Attorney Webber offered a plea where McHenry would plead guilty to vandalism and have all other charges dropped. Mr. Weber told the court that if McHenry agreed to do this he would do two months in jail which the judge said could be work release. The DA also said the offer would include a years stay away from Pacific Avenue Mall and Assistant City Manager Scott Collins which would make it impossible for McHenry to continue protesting the city’s anti-homeless laws. The offer makes it clear that city officials believe it important to silence McHenry’s effective work in bringing attention to the criminal actions taken by the city against its poor. The next important court hearing will be held on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 10:00 AM.Please show your support by attending the hearings.

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